Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 510723
Title Ecological risk assessments to guide decision-making : Methodology matters
Author(s) Piet, Gerjan J.; Knights, Antony M.; Jongbloed, Ruud H.; Tamis, Jacqueline E.; Vries, Pepijn de; Robinson, Leonie A.
Source Environmental Science & Policy 68 (2017). - ISSN 1462-9011 - p. 1 - 9.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2016.11.009
Department(s) WIAS
IMARES Onderzoeksformatie
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2017
Keyword(s) Ecosystem component - Ecosystem-based management - Exposure-effect - Pressure - Sector
Abstract

Ecological risk assessment is often applied to guide the decision-making process that underpins ecosystem-based management and prioritisation of risk factors for management. Several studies have recently used ecological risk assessment approaches to identify risk factors of greatest concern, but rarely are the underlying methodological decisions discussed in terms of the effect that those decisions have on the outcome of the assessment and ultimately, how that affects prioritisation of risk factors for management. This study therefore evaluates the effect of methodological decisions involving (1) the choice and definition of risk factors, and (2) the calculation of risk scores, providing, where possible, recommendations on what should be the most appropriate methodologies. The definition of risk factors is often determined by the policy context and could result in the comparison of one broadly defined risk meta-factor (e.g. Food Production) with corresponding specific risk factors defined more narrowly (i.e. Oil and Gas production or Offshore Wind). Depending on the method to calculate risk this may result in a systematic bias prioritising any risk meta-factor. For the calculation of individual impact chain risk scores we compared weighted scores with ordinal scores, where the former allows more flexibility to represent the qualitative categories that determine risk and provided results better supported by scientific evidence. A consideration of different risk assessment applications in EBM showed there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this as these methodological decisions need to be considered in concert and the preferred methodology may depend on the context in which the risk assessment is applied. The outcome of the risk assessment should always be accompanied by an explicit consideration of these methodological issues and description of the resulting methodological choices.

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